He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:15
The Twilight Zone was a TV series in the early 1960s. Episodes typically included elements of science fiction or the supernatural. Almost every story ended with a twist in the plot. Many consider it one of the best-written TV shows of all time.
One particular episode featured a hardened criminal who had died but woke up in a pleasant place. A congenial host welcomed him and invited him to enjoy what he knew to be some of the criminal’s favorite amusements—playing cards, playing pool, etc. At first, the criminal had a marvelous time, for he discovered that he won every game he played. Over time, however, the novelty wore off. More time passed. The irritation of always winning had now turned into drudgery. More time passed. Finally, the criminal cried out in misery, “I wish I hadn’t gone to heaven. I wish I were in hell.” In reply, the congenial host laughed a terrible laugh and said, “You are.”
From the Bible, we know that hell is far, far worse than simple boredom. The criminal’s misery, however, highlights a real curse—the curse of an empty, meaningless life that has no other purpose than to revolve around me.
That’s the evil genius of sin, of course—your sin and mine. My sinful self makes a compelling case that the purpose of my life is the fulfillment of my pleasures, my dreams, my comforts, my priorities. All that creates, however, is a vacant, lonely, pointless life. My life has meaning only in connection with the God who made me. Absent that, nothing matters.
And that’s why Jesus came. As my substitute, God the Son lived a life of perfect trust in his heavenly Father’s will. As my substitute, God the Son went to the cross and washed away all my sins of self-absorption. Now, as the risen and ascended Christ, he sends me his Holy Spirit through his gospel, joining me to God through faith in his Son. The curse of my self-absorbed life is over.
Lord Jesus, you have rescued me from the loneliness of self. Fill me with the joy of living for you. Amen.
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Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
In 2015, archaeologists discovered something very old. It was a wooden shield, rectangular in shape and reinforced with straps. Experts date the shield to several hundred years before the birth of Jesus.
To a soldier in the ancient world, the significance of a good shield was profound. In the universe of battle, when swords, spears, and projectiles were seeking to kill or maim, there was nothing a soldier treasured more than a reliable shield. He cared for it, repaired it, maintained it, and for good reason. To him, the shield he carried was a mobile, personal refuge from harm.
Perhaps you are in a moment of your life when you feel as though there are swords, spears, arrows, and projectiles coming at you from every direction. Some may be coming from your place of work. Others may be coming from your home, family, and finances. Others may be coming from a diagnosis from the doctor. Still, others may be coming from sharp regrets in your past or pointed fears about your future.
Such a feeling, of course, is nothing new. Ever since humanity severed its relationship with God in the Garden of Eden, we have been experiencing the consequences of our own sinful brokenness. One of those consequences is to feel as though we are, at times, in a chaotic, noisy battle.
God saw this. God saw us. He saw the madness, brokenness, and frantic despair. And so God sent his Son. On our behalf, Jesus fought the perfect fight against every sinful temptation. In our place, Jesus gave his life on the cross for our every sinful failure. Then, according to his promise, he rose from death, ascended into heaven, and filled the whole universe.
And because he has, you and I now stand forgiven through faith in him. Heaven is ours. He surrounds us in his presence. He guides all things for our good.
All of which means that, as you and I encounter the battles of life in this old world, we have a shield. We have a personal refuge. His name is Jesus.
Lord Jesus, when my battles come, you are my shield. Help me remember this. Amen.
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Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”
Everything for Your Good
The event was sold out. The featured speaker was a prominent British writer of television dramas and children’s literature. When a woman by the name of Malorie Blackman tried to get in, the ticket-takers at the door stopped her cold. “Do you have a ticket?” they demanded, with a nasty edge in their voices. “No, I’m afraid I don’t.” “Then you’ll have to leave. It’s sold out. You can’t come in.”
Malorie thought for a moment about this. Then she replied, “Well, if I leave, then so will everyone else. You see, they’ve all paid to hear me speak.” Immediately, according to Malorie, every ticket-taker there was wearing a red face of embarrassment. They simply had no idea to whom they were speaking.
The Old Testament book of Job is the moving account of what happened when a believer in the true God had to endure a titanic amount of severe suffering. Eventually, Job began to question God’s wisdom.
God’s reply? “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” God made it very clear to Job that Job was out of his depth when it came to challenging God and his wisdom. Job was beginning to lose sight of who his Savior-God really is.
How about you? Is this a period in your life when you’re beginning to forget who your Savior-God really is? Do you perceive him as distant, small, uncaring—perhaps even a bit irrelevant to the frantic urgencies of your life?
Stop. Listen. Listen to the Word of the Lord. Listen as the profound voice of your Savior-God calls you to repentance. As he does, listen further. Listen as he goes on to embrace you, all over again, in the forgiveness purchased by his Son on Calvary’s cross. That is the God who loves you. That is the God who guides everything—everything—for your good.
Heavenly Father, forgive my words without knowledge. Forgive me for the sake of your Son. Refresh me in the greatness of who you truly are. Amen.
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If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Out With the Old
It had become kind of embarrassing. The shoes had served me well, but the scuff marks were getting pretty bad. No matter what I did to clean and polish them they still looked dirty. I had to walk carefully around puddles because a hole had formed in the sole of the left shoe. It didn’t matter how nicely I dressed, with those shoes on my feet I just felt a little grubby.
Finally, after putting it off longer than I should have, I bought a new pair. Ah… they were comfortable, and I didn’t have to worry about my socks getting soaked every time it rained. Now I was confident that I looked decent when I needed to dress up. I actually found myself walking with more of a spring in my step, confident in my brand-new shoes.
If new shoes or new clothes can have that kind of an impact, what would it be like to be a completely new person? Those who know Jesus and trust in him as their only Savior from sin and death don’t have to wonder. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new here!”
Jesus died to remove your sin forever. Every impure thought, every hurtful action, every regret-producing decision, and shame-inducing failure—all have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. Everything that would make you look dirty and dingy in the eyes of your perfect Creator has been done away with. The old has gone!
Those who are in Christ—who believe that his blood washed away sin—have been made new. You can walk around confident that you look good to God. He sees you as his holy and perfect child, washed in the blood of his Son and made new.
Through faith in Jesus, you are a new creation!
Jesus, my Savior, thank you for removing the old and making me new. Help me to live as the new creation you have made me. In your name I ask it. Amen.
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“‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain…Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches . . . I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’”
God Will Never Give Up on You
It’s not a great feeling when people give up on us. Maybe it was the coach who decided you were never going to get it, and so he banished you to the bench. Maybe it was the employer who decided you weren’t fast enough to keep up with the job and fired you after only a few weeks of work. Or perhaps it was the spouse who was no longer willing to be patient with you to make some necessary changes and decided it was time to move on without you.
The believers in Ezekiel’s day had the mistaken impression that God had given up on them. They were languishing in captivity in the far-off land of Babylon, far away from home and country, far away from their house of worship. Yes, they had sinned. And now it seemed to them that God had given up on them and moved on.
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God gave his people a wonderful and much-needed reminder that he would never give up on them. He had promised to save them many times and through many generations, and he intended to keep that promise. In beautiful words, Ezekiel records God’s determination to keep his promise to his people. He let them know that a Savior was coming—one who would take away everyone’s sins and provide refuge for all who seek him.
God will never give up on you either, no matter how unlikely that may seem. God has proven that already by keeping his promise in sending Jesus. The cross of Calvary is God’s guarantee that he will never give up on you. He loves you, has saved you, and will always be with you. Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance, God says to you: “I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.”
Dear Jesus, thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for giving yourself in my place and for giving me the gift of heaven. Lead me to trust you and to live as your child. Amen.
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When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Full and Free Forgiveness
The ancient city of Nineveh was known for its violence. As the capital of the Assyrian empire, Nineveh dominated the region, and its influence was felt in many directions. Many other nations fell under its power, including the Kingdom of Israel. Assyrian armies laid waste to almost everything in their path, subjugating and enslaving many people and cruelly torturing those who dared to resist. As a result, they earned God’s anger, and he sent his prophet Jonah with the message: “In forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed.”
But when Jonah hesitated to heed God’s call, it wasn’t for the reason we might have expected. It wasn’t that he feared for his life or thought that he might be in danger. Once he finally arrived, Jonah seemed to go fearlessly about the city proclaiming God’s message of impending punishment. What Jonah was afraid of was exactly what happened: the people listened to the message and repented of their wicked ways. They understood from the forty-day warning that the holy God of Israel was willing to relent and show them mercy. And that is what happened.
Jonah selfishly disapproved of God’s grace toward these enemies of God’s people. He would rather see them destroyed and punished without warning as their sins deserved. But God’s kingdom comes by grace in this world. In fact, there is no other way to enter it. The Ninevites could not lay claim to God’s kingdom by force, but neither could the Israelites claim it by merit.
Grace is God’s unmerited love for those who deserve his anger instead. Grace is found only in Jesus Christ, who took our many offenses against God upon himself and accepted the punishment that we all deserved. We enter into God’s kingdom, under his almighty protection and inside of his eternal love, only by recognizing that we shouldn’t be there at all. Repenting of our sins and renouncing our selfishness, we find that we have full and free forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, I know that I have angered you and deserve your punishment. But ask for your mercy, and I cling to your gracious promises of forgiveness in Jesus. Amen.
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The 5th Sunday after Pentecost
God Governs Creation
St. John’s & Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Churches
Montello & Mecan, WI
June 26, 2021
4:30p.m. St. John’s
Pastor Rodney Dietsche
June 27, 2021
10:00a.m. St. John’s
Pastor Pete Zietlow
† P R E P A R A T I O N F O R W O R S H I P †
We prepare ourselves to worship the one Savior God by expressing our humble repentance, offering our fervent prayers and singing our thankful hymns of praise.
OPENING HYMN CW 384:1-3, “By Grace I’m Saved”
† T H E C O M M O N S E R V I C E †
M: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen. ♪
CONFESSION OF SINS
We confess to God that we have failed to live up to the perfect standards in his law, and we plead for his mercy.
M: Beloved in the Lord; let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins to God our Father, asking him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness.
C: Holy and merciful Father, I confess that I am by nature sinful and that I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words and actions. I have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this I deserve your punishment both now and in eternity. But I am truly sorry for my sins, and trusting in my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.
LORD, HAVE MERCY
C: Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us. ♪
M: God, our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us and has given his only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, as a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son † and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen. ♪
M: In the peace of forgiveness, let us praise the Lord.
GLORY BE TO GOD
Gloria in Excelsis
C: Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will toward men. We praise you, we bless you, we worship you. We glorify you, we give thanks to you for your great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on us. You take away the sin of the world. Receive our prayer. You sit at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy on us. For you only are holy, you only are the Lord. You only, O Christ, with the Holy Spirit, are most high, in the glory of God the Father. Amen. ♪
PRAYER OF THE DAY
M: The Lord be with you.
C: And also with you. ♪
M: Let us pray.
O Lord, our God, govern the nations on earth and direct the affairs of this world so that your Church may worship you in peace and joy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: Amen. ♪
Please be seated for the day’s Scripture readings.
† T H E W O R D †
The Lord Jesus speaks to us in Scripture reading, preaching and song.
FIRST LESSON Job 38:1-11 (Saturday’s sermon text)
Summary: God’s wisdom over creation
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?
* All sing in unison.
Refrain: The mighty Lord is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. ♪
God is our refuge and strength,*
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way*
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam*
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,*
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;*
God will help her at break of day.
“Be still, and know that I am God;*
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Glory be to the Father and to the Son*
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,*
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
SECOND LESSON 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (Sunday’s sermon text)
Summary: God’s reconciling love forms a new creation
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
VERSE OF THE DAY Galatians 4:6
M: Alleluia. Because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Alleluia.
C: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! ♪
GOSPEL LESSON Mark 4:35-41
C: Glory be to you, O Lord! ♪
Summary: Jesus’ power over creation
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
C: Praise be to you, O Christ! ♪
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and became fully human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who in unity with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
HYMN OF THE DAY CW 401, “Your Works, Not Mine, O Christ”
“Trust in the LORD; He is greater and you!”
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
“The Old Has Gone-The New Has Come”
- New Status
- New Life
- New Work
C: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with your free Spirit. Amen. ♪
Please be seated.
† O F F E R I N G S O F G I F T S & P R A Y E R S †
Members of this congregation show their thanks to God for all he has done for them by returning a portion of their income to the Lord. Through these free will offerings, this congregation and its ministries are maintained. Guests need not feel obligated to contribute. The plate is located in the church entryway.
The Offering Prayer, Vacation Time Prayer and Intercessory Prayers are spoken by pastor. Please see announcement details of today’s Intercessory Prayers.
All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
† H O L Y C O M M U N I O N †
M: The Lord be with you.
C: And also with you. ♪
M: Lift up your hearts.
C: We lift them up unto the Lord. ♪
M: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
C: It is good and right so to do. ♪
M: It is truly good and right that we should at all times and in all places give you thanks, O Lord, holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and we praise you especially for the glorious resurrection of your Son, the true Passover Lamb, who by his sacrifice took away the sins of the world and by his resurrection restored everlasting life. Therefore, with all the saints on earth and hosts of heaven, we praise your holy name and join their glorious song:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
C: Holy, holy, holy Lord God of heavenly hosts: heav’n and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he, blessed is he, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest.
WORDS OF INSTITUTION
M: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
M: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
C: Amen. ♪
O CHRIST, LAMB OF GOD
C: O Christ, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.
O Christ, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.
O Christ, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; grant us your peace. Amen.
During the distribution the congregation may sing one or more hymns.
At St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church & Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church we practice close Communion. If you are a guest at worship today and interested in receiving the Lord’s Supper, please speak with the pastor prior to the service.
DISTRIBUTION HYMN CW 310, “I Come, O Savior, to Your Table”
1 I come, O Savior, to your table, For weak and weary is my soul;
O Jesus, you alone are able To satisfy and make me whole.
Lord, may your body and your blood Be for my soul the highest good!
2 Oh, grant that I in manner worthy May now trust solely in your Word,
And, conscious of the sins before me, Look only unto you, O Lord.
3 Unworthy though I am, O Savior, Because I have a sinful heart,
Yet you your lamb will banish never, Nor will your faithfulness depart.
4 Oh, let me loathe all sin forever As death and poison to my soul,
That I through willful sinning never May see your judgment take its toll!
5 Your heart is filled with fervent yearning That sinners may salvation see
Who, Lord, to you in faith are turning; So let me, too, come trustingly.
6 Weary am I and heavy laden; With sin my soul is sore oppressed.
Receive me graciously and gladden My heart, for I am now your guest.
7 You here will find a heart most lowly That feels unworthy in your sight,
That duly weeps o’er sin, yet solely Your merit pleads, as it is right.
8 By faith I call your holy table The testament of your deep love,
For by your gift I now am able To know the heart of God above.
9 What higher gift can we inherit? It is faith’s bond and solid base;
It is the strength of heart and spirit, The covenant of hope and grace.
10 This feast is manna, wealth abounding Unto the poor, to weak ones pow’r,
To angels joy, to hell confounding, And life for me in death’s dark hour.
11 Your body, giv’n for me, O Savior, Your blood, which you for me have shed—
These are my life and strength forever; By them my hungry soul is fed.
SONG OF SIMEON
C: Lord, now you let your servant depart in peace according to your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.
M: O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
C: And His mercy endures forever. ♪
M: We give thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us with this holy supper. We pray that through it you will strengthen our faith in you and increase our love for one another. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: Amen. ♪
M: The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look on you with favor and (+) give you peace.
C: Amen. Amen. Amen. ♪
CLOSING HYMN CW 384:4-5, “By Grace I’m Saved”
For we live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Live by Faith
Was it any wonder that Pontius Pilate found it hard to believe that Jesus was truly a king? That was the “crime” that Jesus was being accused of by his enemies—a rebel and an upstart who was trying to set up his own kingdom. But who could believe that to look at him? Isaiah described him this way: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). What few disciples Jesus had had all fled, abandoning their rabbi when he was arrested. Now he stood alone before the Roman governor, “despised and rejected by men.” You can hear the incredulity in Pilate’s voice as he asks, “Are you a king?”
We may have the same doubts about those who are followers of this king. Christians around the world are often harassed and persecuted for their faith in the Nazarene Jesus, who was crucified as a criminal. Their lives are full of the same suffering and pain as those around them, despite their allegiance to the God who they believe created the universe. They say that God is their Father and that he loves them, but Christians also get sick and die, just like everyone else.
But Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. And his followers live by faith, not by sight. They know God’s promises are true because they know that he is truthful. They put their faith in him because he is faithful. God kept his promise to send his Son as Savior of mankind, so he will also keep his promise to love us as his dear children for the sake of Jesus. And finally, God will keep his last promises when he comes to take us to live with him forever in heaven. These bodies we live in may be fragile, and the world we live in full of peril, but we live by faith, not by sight. Our king, the Lord Jesus Christ, will never disappoint us.
Lord God, I pray that you would increase my faith to trust your word even when my eyes tell me there is reason to doubt. Keep my faith focused on Jesus, who rose from the dead and who will give me eternal life by his side. Amen.
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In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
Growth Through the Gospel
Many missionaries were unable to travel during the worldwide pandemic. Sometimes that meant staying in the mission field for longer than they had planned, putting off trips to visit family back stateside for another year. Others were stuck outside of their field of labor for months at a time while borders were closed to international travel. All of them were grateful for modern technology that allowed them to communicate with people on the other side of the world almost instantaneously. It was only last century that missionaries usually had to wait weeks or even months for correspondence to be delivered either way.
Of course, even today, there are places where Christian missionaries do not always have Internet access. But those sent overseas in the name of Christ know they do not depend primarily on modern communication technology. Their confidence lies not in the speed of the Internet but the power of the gospel. Whether the good news of Jesus is preached over a loudspeaker, hand-written in a letter, shared quietly around a village campfire, or sent as bytes and bits through cyberspace, it has the same power of God to transform human hearts.
This message is for all people everywhere. The Bible tells us, “There is no difference … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24). And all around the world, this gospel message has been bearing fruit and growing, as people of all nations come to know and believe that Jesus Christ has died for the sins of the whole world.
And you are no different. The gospel is also for you and your family. You can read it in a book (or an emailed devotion!), listen to it live at church or a streamed broadcast, or hear it from a friend or a friendly missionary. But no matter the method, the message of forgiveness through Christ is powerful to save.
Lord God, thank you for sending your gospel into the world. May it also remain with me. Amen.
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